By Quentin Wodon, District 7620 membership chair
Creating new clubs is one of the best ways to grow Rotary. It’s also a great way to give the gift of Rotary to new members who may not have access to existing clubs where they live or work. Today, Rotary International gives us ample freedom to be creative when launching new clubs. This has led a group of us – professionals working in international development – to charter a new club – the Rotary Club of Washington Global, that will aim to serve as a small “think tank” for Rotarians on international development issues.
Our charter members are mostly based in Washington, D.C. and working for organizations such as the World Bank, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Development Bank, USAID, international nongovernmental organizations, and other groups involved in international development. Apart from a core group based in Washington, we will welcome members from all over the world, and especially developing countries, as a hybrid in-person and online club. Members based in the city will attend meetings in person, but we will also enable participation online through WebEx or similar platforms. This will also make it easier for our local members to participate when travelling on mission abroad.
Why are we creating this new club?
While we have a few staff from international development organizations as members in existing clubs in the Washington D.C. area, we don’t have many. Our new club will solve the issue of members not being able to attend meetings in person due to long missions overseas. It will provide our members with a great opportunity to establish contact in the countries where they work by visiting other Rotary clubs. And we hope members in other locations will appreciate the ability to remotely join a dynamic group of professionals working in international development. We plan to have great speakers in all of Rotary’s areas of focus (our program of online seminars through the end of December 2020 is already available). And we plan to practice Service Above Self by using our skills in support of other clubs, Rotarian Action Groups, and nongovernmental organizations.
We are working hard to keep our dues to a minimum, so that professionals based in developing countries as well as young professionals based in D.C. working on short term consultant contracts can join. We will be thrifty with our membership dues, and we have a great website.
In terms of service projects, while we will fund initiatives at some point, we hope to give back in large part by using our professional expertise and volunteering our time. We hope to support NGOs with their projects, for example, by advising them on the design and evaluation of interventions. We will conduct analytical work to help inform Rotarians worldwide about best practices in various areas. And we will aim to support existing Rotary clubs with their own projects.
Essentially, we will engage in pro bono consulting work to support projects that reach some of the most vulnerable groups. In addition, several of us are involved with Rotarian Action Groups and as members of the Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers – we will encourage new members to do that as well. Quite a few of our charter members are former Rotary Peace Fellows.
We are starting our club with just under 40 members, but we are actively looking for additional members. If you are interested in joining us, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.